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Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB” held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today to discuss the bank’s results and future outlook after releasing financials for the year ended 31 December 2017 at QFB Lounge premises in Doha – Qatar.
QFB’s Board of Directors, chaired by QFB chairman Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, along with shareholders, Management team and attendees of the AGM, discussed and approved, the bank’s audited financial results and the performance for the previous year. Furthermore, the corporate governance report was presented at the AGM. The EGM was postponed to a date to be announced, to allow a sufficient number of shareholders to approve the proposed Special Resolutions.
Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, QFB’s Chairman, said:
“2017 was a challenging year for all financial institutions in the country, amid the ongoing illegal blockade imposed on Qatar by some neighbouring GCC countries, which impeded the flow of business both locally and regionally. Qatar’s economy, however, has proven its resiliency and robustness as it swiftly recovered from the effects of this blockade, and continues to do so.
At QFB we are not immune to the prevailing global and regional economic environment. In 2017 the bank recorded a revenue of QAR 334.2 million and a net loss of QAR 269.3 million, resulting mainly from the downward revision of the valuations of some of the bank’s private equity investments across several markets”
QFB was able to complete some successful exits, resulting in a gain of QAR 24 million, and bank’s investment portfolio continued to generate healthy dividends (QAR 25.5 million), which was double that generated in 2016. Bank’s income from financing assets increased by QAR 12.6 million, to QAR 82 million while bank’s income from placement with financial institutions stood at QAR 25.6 million mainly derived from cash deployment in Shari’ah compliant money market funds.
Furthermore, QFB’s management continued raising efficiency levels through the implementation of the cost rationalization plan that resulted in a reduction of the staff expenses by 10.8% and other operating expenses by 20.7% with an overall reduction of the expenses by 7.8% compared to 2016.
QFB has also successfully completed the full exit of Westbourne House and Amanat Holdings as well as the partial exit of Avivo Group and Lion Air at favorable returns to our shareholders. In line with bank’s new strategy, QFB continues to explore exit opportunities to realise value from our private equity investments and gradually move to a less capital-intensive business model.
Many of Bank’s portfolio companies have performed well in 2017. David Morris has successfully continued its expansion, opening new boutiques in Paris and Doha, with further expansion expected in 2018. Cambridge Medical & Rehabilitation Centre grew its revenues by 39% and increased its profitability. Some other companies witnessed less favorable results in 2017, amid the backdrop of macroeconomic developments that have a direct impact on their financial performance.
Al Marri continued
“Despite the challenging macroeconomic landscape that we have faced in 2017, QFB has made progress towards its revised strategy. QFB is undergoing a transformational shift from a proprietary based investment model to having a diversified base of fee-based revenue streams. On the back of this new strategy, QFB has already begun generating fee income by offering client-focused investment products, primarily in real estate and aviation”
During the year, new Qatari appointments were made to the Bank’s senior management in line with QFB’s new human resources strategy, to promote and attract Qatari talents to work in QFB while building a sustainable work environment that attracts a national workforce. QFB also continued its action plan that focuses on optimizing the bank’s resources and raising efficiency level by implementing strict cost-cutting measures.
Al Marri concluded by expressing his sincere appreciation and gratitude for the visionary leadership of His Highness, the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. He continued by thanking the shareholders, regulators and investment partners for their continued loyalty, patience, faith and support and respected Shari’ah Supervisory Board for their wise counsel and guidance.